Film Federation of India (FFI) president TP Aggarwal has rejected claims by the FWICE that India’s official entry to the Oscars, Chhello Show, is a copy of the Academy Award-winning Italian film Cinema Paradiso (1988).
Aggarwal opened up about Chhello Show being selected over RRR and The Kashmir Files as India’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the 95th Academy Awards.
Sticking to the jury’s decision of selecting director Pan Nalin’s film for the Oscars, Aggarwal told indianexpress.com, “FFI is 100% correct in this way because this was the decision of 17 jury members. When we showed them the film, I had not seen the film because as the president I’m not supposed to see the picture. We ask to give rate the films as number 1, number 2, number 3, we ask them in that way and they said there is no number 1 or number 2, this is the only picture we want to send for Oscars.”
Aggarwal also sternly rejected claims that Chhello Show is a copy of Cinema Paradiso. He said, “No, I had asked the jury members, they’ve seen the picture so many times and they said no (it is not a copy). Not a single scene is similar in the film. It can be inspired by that, but it is not a copy.”
Apart from calling Chhello Show an unoriginal film, the FWICE also said that the film was in contention last year as well. On this, Aggarwal said, “The Film Federation of India has already taken the permission from the Academy if this film can be shown this year or not. Because last year the film has not released, you have to release the picture that’s why it didn’t go last year.”
FWICE had also questioned why Chhello Indian was being considered as an Indian film as it has been produced by international studios. On this, Aggarwal said, “I cannot say anything about that, I am not sure about it.”
Earlier, Aggarwal had shared with indianexpress.com that the jury unanimously decided to select Chhello Show. “Chhello Show was a unanimous decision by the jury. Out of the 17, all of them said we need this film. We are never inside so this was completely the jury’s decision. They said it is an Indian film that should go (for Oscar),” Aggarwal had said.
SS Rajamouli’s RRR and Vivek Agnihotri’s The Kashmir Files were considered the fan favourites for the selection. On this, Aggarwal had said, “The Kashmir Files and RRR were nowhere in front of this. The jury wanted this film only. They said there was no second or third film.”
The jury that selected Chhello Show as India’s official entry to the Oscars included filmmaker TS Nagabharana (chairman), filmmaker Sangeeth Sivan, music composer Jatin Pandit, costume designer Nikhat Mariyam Neerushaa, producer Anjan Bose, sound recordist Mandar Kamalapurkar, editor Prateek Gupta, and others.